Written by Amie Chapman


Gary, a guide dog in training, enjoys his toy.

Gary, a guide dog in training, enjoys his toy.

I was trying to figure out a topic for my next blog while I was recently puppy sitting Gary, a Guide Dog in training for Guide Dogs of the Desert, and got to thinking that a lot of people didn’t know that puppy raisers need sitters for their puppies sometimes.

Yes, it is true that puppy raisers take their puppies almost everywhere, but sometimes raisers need a break, travel somewhere their puppies can’t or are not ready to visit, or their puppy could benefit from a new and different experience.

“Most organizations don’t just let anyone watch their puppies. ”

Almost all of the puppies I have raised have been with a puppy sitter during our time with them and it was very beneficial for every single one of them. Some things that a puppy in training can get out of being with a sitter can be learning how to behave in other home environments, be exposed to new daily routines, and learn to work with new people.

Learning to have consistent behavior in different home environments is very important for service dogs in training. Unless the puppy is being owner-trained, they will eventually live somewhere different. Different homes will have different relieving spots, different morning and bedtime routines, possibly different animals in the house, and different temptations a puppy may need to learn to ignore.

The other thing that a lot of people don’t know is that a lot of service dog schools have designated puppy sitters. Most organizations don’t just let anyone watch their puppies. They need to be approved and often need to stay up to date with that organization’s training techniques and policies. But being a puppy sitter is a great option for people who would love to help raise a service dog but might not be able to commit to raising a puppy full time. Puppy raising is a big commitment and takes a lot of time. Becoming a puppy sitter allows a person to be involved and play a vital role in helping a puppy become a service dog without a full-time commitment. Sometimes it takes a village to raise a puppy, and anyone can be part of that village.

Enjoying the Christmas decor at the mall.

Enjoying the Christmas decor at the mall.

Gary catches some shut-eye in the car.

Gary catches some shut-eye in the car.

Gary asleep under the dining table at Benihana's.

Gary asleep under the dining table at Benihana’s.

Another toy captivates Gary.

Another toy captivates Gary.